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owl sitting in barn by Cliff Johnston on Unsplash

For the soul, ages 49 to 56 are about gaining a vista of the future. This is the 8th seven-year cycle. Socially, ideas about the fifties are gradually breaking free of the notion that old age is here. We still have plenty of ‘over fifties clubs’ and it’s challenging for people in their fifties to find work when employers believe they are ‘past it’. Yet these years are so often an energy-filled period of innovation and setting up your own path in a new way. It’s just that the kind of energy is changing.

This is the Jupiter cycle. Jupiter is the largest of the planets by far and this indicates the expansiveness associated with it. This can be directed towards self, wanting more possessions or power or it can be in an outreach to our fellow human beings, in giving of self. It is a positive characteristic of many people in their fifties.

Ideally the wisdom nature will activate within the soul and begin to unfold. What are the characteristics of wisdom? Wisdom does not have a loud voice; it alters our perception and gives us insight to ‘see’ behind and beyond outward appearances. Wisdom works like osmosis in our being. It penetrates our body, purifies our mind and becomes part of us so it illuminates the spirit at work. Wisdom stills us, gives us patience and compassion and the ultimate purpose of wisdom is to bless the world.

The corresponding cycle is 14 to 21 years. This was the time when the astral body developed. It was being born impacting on the physical and resulting in the changes of puberty and adolescence. The astral is the vehicle for the soul (which develops in its three aspects – feeling, thinking and willing – during the following three cycles). The astral, the desire body, gives us a sense of who we are in a worldly sense; it gives us our ego. Ego is necessary for our worldly life. Ego is also problematic when it remains limited to self-centredness as the years progress.

Spiritual wisdom and creative seeds for the next lifetime

In the teenage years it was important to learn to handle emotions and desires, as well as to gain independence from the family – a difficult undertaking, as we well know. If the 14-21 cycle was the gaining of worldly wisdom, the 49-56 cycle is the time for spiritual wisdom. And it is a time of planting creative seeds for the future, especially our next incarnation.

The major karma for which you incarnated will have already entered your life by the end of the seventh cycle. After 49, you may, of course, still be held in the clutches of past influences, but what lies ahead cannot be grasped in terms of previous lives and karma. Now the future exerts its influence and the lifestyle, decisions and attitudes we adopt determine many aspects of our next lifetime. The metaphysical adage ‘the mind is the builder’ is especially true at this stage. Unfortunately, it is often the case that many people are not attuned to the soul’s direction.

In what follows we are looking at the soul’s needs and purposes when they are being fulfilled. In this cycle from 49 to 56, the higher gifts will become part of you, such as graciousness, forgiveness, generosity compassion and of course wisdom. But perhaps what precedes this is the yearning to be in touch with the higher self. That means more importance will be given to time alone, time in silence, in meditation and reflection. This is the experience of ‘beingness’. The natural consequence of listening to one’s own inner being is that one can in fact listen and ‘be’ with others without needing to fill the spaces with words. You don’t need to talk so much and even being in company becomes a choice not a need.

This is not a rosy time - life can be very difficult. During this phase there are many examples of physical vulnerability. The creative life forces of a woman are leaving her body around this time. The period of innate physical creativity is over. If the woman is not trying to hold on to the past, she can then enjoy the fruits of her earlier life. She now enters a phase of a different kind of creativity, perhaps picking up threads from her younger days. ‘It’s time now to do what I have always wanted to …’ is a common statement. Or as often happens, a whole new direction begins.

This is also true of the male who in many ways has reached the end of his active physical life. In ancient Rome generals who had served their country in the highest capacity became eligible to become Roman senators at fifty. Money, power and honour had already become theirs personally and now they had a new perspective which equipped them for service on a higher level through exercising the powers of the state. In the fifties a good politician, male or female, can govern with dignity, wisdom and impartiality, unmoved by egotistical concerns. Service is a key word for this cycle.

The receding astral, physical vulnerability and the spiritual self

If 14 to 21 was a time of great change as the astral forces of desire, emotions, sexuality and individuality worked on the awakening young person, in this 8th cycle these forces begin to recede. In the breaking down the body is freed for a more spiritual focus and the spiritual maturity which we should strive for. This does not mean carelessness about the physical body and its appearance but rather a transfer of emphasis from the outer to the inner.

With the receding of the astral health problems can appear, particularly in the bones, muscles and nerves, so that the person is unable to perform the physical work they used to. This is a decision-making time for people whose work involves physical ability. It’s an issue of a different kind for people whose ego is bound up with their physical body.

Blood disorders, skin drying and imbalances, bone related weakness, each challenges us to come to terms with the circumstances of the time and embrace the opportunity to look at our direction. A certain surrender is needed – on an inner level. Physical vulnerability can also be seen in life threatening conditions such as heart attacks or strokes or the onset of chronic illness. This focus on the condition of the heart is an interesting perspective in terms of the seed of wisdom struggling to be born within the individual.

Serious illnesses and crises in health are extremely dramatic and frequently become transforming experiences for the individual. Childhood illnesses are formative influences, marking the soul’s need to impress itself on the body. In the mature adult illness has a different function and may act as a catalyst to turn the focus inward, to a new perspective on life and perhaps to necessary changes.

During this period, because it is no longer being repaired as it used to be, the body starts to be the visible expression of our physical wellbeing and significantly also of our ideas and attitudes. They have impressed in our physical being, as have the ‘habits’ of our daily life, for better or worse. Our body will reflect whether we have an open expansive approach to life cultivated inwardly, or a fearful, stultified, narrowing one. This is especially so on the face where the inner self is expressed outwardly and will increasingly set in like glue.

As old concepts are reviewed, their deeper implications can be grasped. Old ideals are viewed more spiritually. There may be a real need to ‘change our minds’. The preparation made in the previous cycle determines what happens now. Clinging to past achievements can bring painful experiences. For example, in the work environment people can feel increasingly threatened by younger colleagues. Yet this relationship gives the opportunity for the mature person to act as mentor and guide. We either let go of old roles and see new possibilities, or we watch the old roles being stripped from us and regret it. Hopefully the spiritual self has been discovered and cultivated in the previous cycle. If so, the spiritual self can be expressed now in the community through thinking on a spiritual level.

Picture: by Cliff Johnson on Unsplash

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